India and IRRI
IRRI-India's success began with the introduction of high-yielding rice variety IR8 dubbed "miracle rice," which helped save India from a massive famine in the 1960s.
IRRI and India have been successfully collaborating for more than four decades. India has been actively involved in IRRI's priority setting, strategic planning, scientific advising, and implementation of research across South Asia. The results of this collaboration have been outstanding and have set an example in international research collaboration.
India began its partnership with IRRI through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1967 when Indian scientists from ICAR's two main rice research centers — the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack and the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR)in Hyderabad— began regularly visiting IRRI.
In 1974, director generals M.S. Swaminathan and N.C. Brady of ICAR and IRRI, respectively, signed their first memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation in research and training. This paved the way for the two institutions to sign work plans every 4 years reviewing the progress of research and identifying opportunities and areas for collaboration.
The synergy of the partnership resulted in advances in developing disease- and insect-resistant varieties suited to various rice environments, developing and releasing hybrid rice varieties bred through government and private sector programs, streamlining rice production practices, and improving postharvest technologies for improved sustainability and productivity. Both institutions trained scientists, conducted socioeconomic research, and provided equitable access to information. From 2009 to 2012, ICAR and IRRI worked together on 37 research projects including two major regional initiatives— Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA), and the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA)projects.
India's extensive partnership with IRRI involves about 250 institutions all over the country. Under the Global Rice Science Partnership (now The CGIAR Research Program on Rice or RICE), the collaboration between India and IRRI is further expanded and strengthened. Opportunities to widen the focus of partnership with India in upstream and innovative research have opened up and will facilitate the transfer of new technologies to farmers and other stakeholders along the rice value chain. A new regional rice breeding hub has also been established in India and operates in close collaboration with ICAR, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and other public and private sector institutions. The hub will help strengthen the rice breeding programs of rice-growing countries in South Asia and Africa.
ICAR and IRRI have developed an exciting and forward-looking research and development agenda for 2013-2016, which was drafted in consultation with various institutions in India. Sixteen projects have been formed under this agenda,with a focus on upstream research for crop improvement, future intensive rice systems, and others. In addition, eight new strategic projects have been proposed under RICE. These projects are led by Indian research institutions, with additional funding sought from the government of India.
On 13 November 2017, Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the IRRI headquarters. This signals the further strengthening of IRRI and India’s collaboration and commitment to eliminate poverty and hunger in the South Asian region. His visit follows the recent inauguration of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC), located in Varanasi, India. ISARC will serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia and the SAARC region.